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UK releases report on Eastern European migration

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The British Home Office released the Accession Monitoring Report on 27 February 2007 detailing Worker Registration Scheme statistics for the "A8" countries (the eight Eastern European countries that joined the European Union in 2004) between May of 2004 and December of 2006.

According to the report, nationals from the A8 countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia), continue to migrate to the UK and contribute to the success of the UK economy.

First time applicants for the Worker Registration Scheme increased from 212,000 in 2005 to 232,000 in 2006. Workers from the A8 countries continue to fill gaps in the labor market, particularly in business and management, administration, hospitality and catering, agriculture, and the food manufacturing industries.

The vast majority of migrant workers from the A8 countries are young; 82% are between the ages of 18 and 34. At the time of their registration, 94% claimed to have no dependents living with them in the UK. Only 4% had dependents under the age of 17 with them.

The number of migrant workers from A8 countries claiming income-related benefits remains low. Only 1,913 applications for Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance were processed in the fourth quarter of 2006. Of these, only 542 were allowed to proceed to further consideration.

By far, the leading source of migrant workers from the A8 countries is Poland, with 65% of the total number of applicants during the report period, followed by Lithuania at 11% and Slovakia at 1%.

Applicants from the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia decreased by over 25% in 2006. Estonian applicants had the greatest decrease at 7%.

Income levels for 78% of migrants under the scheme were between £4.50 - £5.99 and hour. 97% of workers registered under the scheme during the report period were working full time.

According to application forms, most did not intend to stay in the UK for a significant length of time:

• 25% answered "Do not know"

• 55% checked "Less than 3 months"

• 2% checked "3 to 5 months"

• 3% checked "6 to 11 months"

• 5% checked "1 to 2 years"

• 10% checked "More than two years"

The UK experienced an enormous surge in immigration after the A8 countries joined the EU, vastly higher than the government had anticipated.


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